Nintendo Targets Kickstarter Over Animal Crossing Copyright Infringement

Nintendo has struck again—this time, its target is a Kickstarter campaign, and the intellectual property in question is none other than the popular life simulation series Animal Crossing.

A seller going by “Sam Rostami” was using the popular fundraising platform to develop the “New Adventures Passport Holder.” The combined RFID-protected passport holder and luggage tag set was available in a wide range of pastel colors and featured cute designs such as fruit, leaves, and animal silhouettes. Rostami’s Kickstarter raised over $25,000, well over the stated project goal of $1,180.

Similarities between the passport holder’s design and images associated with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing franchise are noticeable. In particular, the leaf-shaped design featured on many of the luggage tags was thought to resemble the logo of 2013’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

In addition, keywords related to the game series were used to advertise Rostami’s product. In particular, the passport holder was described as “a cute animal pattern passport cover for your new adventures crossing the horizon,” referencing the title of newly released franchise installment Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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Nintendo’s DMCA claim against Rostami’s Kickstarter utilized the following language:

“The reported campaign displays images of Nintendo’s copyright-protected Animal Crossing characters and images in connection with the creation of products that make unauthorized use of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing characters and images, all in violation of Nintendo’s rights.”

Initially, the Kickstarter was shut down, with an explanation discussing the copyright strike provided on the campaign’s main page. However, the campaign was soon restarted, now utilizing new, less Animal Crossing-adjacent language and imagery. An update discussing Rostami’s response to the copyright claim was published but was made available only to backers of the project.

It remains to be seen whether or not Nintendo will take additional action following the re-establishment of the Kickstarter campaign.

Only a few days ago, Nintendo took legal action targeted Twitch streamers that created Mario-themed content in Sony’s open-ended PlayStation 4 title Dreams. Nintendo fans who had made realistic Mario character models or re-created popular Mario Kart or Super Mario Bros. levels were encouraged to cease and desist, leading to the cancellation of several planned Twitch streams and events.

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